Ignored, Invisible, Erased

Truth GIn response to my post about how fat hate is often about things other than our actual fat, I received comments and e-mails from people who had experiences where they were ignored, erased, or made to feel invisible. This is just another effect of the war on fat people, of the government encouraging our employers, families, friends – even fat people ourselves – to stereotype us based on how we look, and to hate the bodies we live in 100% of the time.

We get ignored and made to feel invisible- by people who work in shops, by people on the street, by doctors, by hiring directors, by teachers in everything from community classes to Masters level college courses.

We also get erased.  This can happen physically  – Blog readers have told me about attending  weddings but finding themselves completely left out of the hundreds of pictures, fat people have been told by brides (who clearly don’t have any home training) that they are not being asked to be bridesmaids because they’ll “ruin the pictures.”  Yesterday commenter Maggie talked about how she had been at a workshop for a week with classes that only had 8 other people that was shot by the town’s tourism rep – who didn’t include her in a single picture.) I had a little kid say “Mom, that lady is fat” and the mom’s response was “Don’t look at her!”  This is not an episode of Dr. Who and I am not an angel statue so it’s totally ok to look at me.

Erasing can also happen emotionally. It happens when people insist that the above things don’t happen, that’s it’s all in our head.  When people’s response to hearing about the stigma, bullying and oppression that fat people deal with is to try to discredit us.  It happens when people try to replace our actual experiences with their made up ones about what it’s like to be fat. (I was once on the news with a celebrity personal trainer who was saying that nobody at 300 pounds could move comfortably.  I responded “What he is saying does not apply to me…” and he interrupted me and said “I beg to differ.” Seriously. He disagreed WITH ME about what I SAID does and does not apply TO ME.  This can be even worse for fatties with multiple marginalized identities – queer, trans*, disabled people, and people of color for example.

This isn’t fair, it isn’t something that we should have to deal with. It’s not our fault but like so much fat hate bullshit it becomes our problem.

There are some things that I do to combat this – obviously these are just my ideas – your mileage may vary, please feel free to ad yours to the comments.

  • Take pictures and post them on social media (I even have a gallery on this blog)
  • Get in front of the camera at events you are at
  • Say something when you see people replacing other people’s actual experience with their own stereotypes/prejudices etc.
  • Stand firm in your right to be the best witness to your experiences.
  • Share your experiences – tell your story.

Of course nobody is every obligated to do any activism at all, I think that in the end the most important thing to remember is that it’s other people’s behavior that’s the problem, not our bodies.

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Published in: on August 14, 2013 at 10:54 am  Comments (62)  

62 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was in exactly ONE photo at a family member’s wedding, and that photo was taken as a candid, by another guest. The reason was not overtly stated, but the implication was clear, at least to me.

  2. I recently de-friended an old HS buddy because she did the “no fat people in the pictures” thing at her wedding. She had the groom’s brother, a big guy, sit at the “single people” table instead of the family table at the wedding because she didn’t want him in any of the shots. She made sure he wasn’t in the family pictures. It was horrible.

    I didn’t de-friend her over this one particular incident…this was just the final blow.

    She has always been so deeply self-involved and stuck on herself that I wondered what I ever saw in her. I guess it was kinda fun in HS to be around someone so “worldly”, but now that I’ve actually traveled a lot, I realised she was a giant false front and not so worldly at all.

    • Yorkie, kudos to you for taking a stand in this way. I’m just sorry the groom didn’t stick up for his brother in this instance. No one should be treated this way!

    • How incredibly crass. I think people have just decided to excuse themselves to be hateful. Fat is the one area that many people think it’s fine to be full of hate. They should pray nothing ever happens to their bodies if all the value they possess is their outward appearance.

    • What the actual fuck? The groom let his bride to do this to HIS OWN BROTHER?

      • Yes, what the actual fuck indeed. He must be as bad as her.

      • Honestly, the brother was probably in better company at the other table if none of his family bothered to make sure that he was in the so-called family photos or seated with the family. What a bunch of ASSHATS. If that were my family and he couldn’t be in the photos, you can bet I wouldn’t have been, either.

  3. Ragen, I think about these things and maybe deep down inside, this is why I love to wear bright colors. Because it’s hard to ignore the fat woman wearing bright colors, especially when she’s doing so without any sense of shame or guilt.

    • Hear, hear. I wear mostly black, but in a way that’s nearly impossible to ignore (and given that I’m the introvert’s introvert, you can imagine the irony therein). Hell, I recently bleached my hair from black to the palest it would go (I desperately need some everyday violet toner), and even more than before, I’m difficult to miss. Yeah, corpse-pale women with black hair and black clothing, dime a dozen, right? How about platinum blondes who are STILL SHADES PALER THAN THEIR HAIR and go about in Union Flag jeans with black blouses? 😀 AND I’m fat.

      You don’t even want to hear about the lip color collection.

      • I wouldn’t mind hearing about the lip color collection, but then I love to talk about these things. Oh, I forgot to add in my response about wearing bright colors that I’ve now done something else that definitely draws attention – I have my hair shorn down SUPER!short. I’m not bald, but I’m not that far away form it. 🙂

        • Lulz, me, too! 😀 Half an inch on the back and sides, and a really feathery, ultra-short pixie on top. For Halloween, I’m getting a red T-shirt with thin black stripes and knitting up a tiger friend. XD (Or convincing a tall, relatively thin friend to dress as said tiger.)

          As for the lip color collection… hell, I can only remember the current favorites off the top of my head:

          Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Black Raspberry (black burgundy)
          Bobbi Brown lip gloss in Scarlet (deep red, best staying power ever)
          MAC lipstick in Red Russian (matte femme fatale red)
          SoBe Botanicals lip gloss in Firestarter (hot red with gold mica)
          SoBe Botanicals lip gloss in Cream Puff (light beige with gold mica)
          SoBe Botanicals lip gloss in Absolution (an amazing light purple)
          SweetsNThings pink (a nice, natural pink)

          On my to-buy list are a black that I can’t remember the name of that’s relatively inexpensive at Sephora, Bobbi Brown High Impact lip gloss in Black Ruby (RED GLITTER!!!!!), High Impact in Plum Gold(?) (plum with gold glitter, amazing), SoBe Botanicals lip gloss *mumbles* (transparent black with iridescent glitter, OMG), and a clear Bobbi Brown that’s supposed to go over lipstick to make your lips pop. And that only scratches the surface of my Want List. XD

          The sad thing is, I’m such a cheapskate that it’ll take me three years just to get THAT much! Though I’m getting the black lipstick, some orange blush, and at least some orange and yellow eye shadows by the end of next month. OCTOBER, BABY! WOOT!

          /off-topic (Sorry, Ragen! At least we’re not allowing ourselves to be ignored, invisible, or erased?)

  4. If I didn’t already love you, this line would’ve won me over: “This is not an episode of Dr. Who and I am not an angel statue so it’s totally ok to look at me.”

    I used to be told that my feelings of being marginalized, looked down upon, ignored or otherwise mistreated because of my weight were in my head… or that I was “projecting” my own feelings about my body onto others.

    I now know that this is pure, unadulterated BS. People – even other fat people! – look down their noses at me simply for how I look. I have said often, replace the word “fat” in any hateful sentence with words like “Jewish” or “black” or “Asian” or whatever… and suddenly you’d have far more people acknowledge it’s hate speech. “Oh, she’s going to ruin our wedding pictures because she’s fat.” Change that to any of these other words and people would be far more likely to be outraged.

    Some say fat hate is the last socially acceptable prejudice, and I have to say that overall I agree. And sometimes I wonder how many people have jumped on the bandwagon of fat hate simply because whatever group they previously hated on is no longer an acceptable target for their vicious, petty animosity.

    • On the other hand, if she was an angel statue and they looked away from her, then she could send them back in time. Preferably to one where they would get eaten by sabertooth tigers.

      • This is exactly what I was thinking, minus the saber-toothed cats. My revenge tends to be more Triassic, less megafauna. Everything’s more fun with dinosaurs! 😀

        • YAY for dinosaurs!! I’m on that, too.

        • It so is!

    • Telling people they are “projecting” is just a way to ignore ones own privilege. I’m guilty of having done this. For example: I have a friend who used to complain that people were rude to her, or looked down on her because she is in her forties and has no children. The idea that anyone would look down on someone for making a choice that is just as valid as choosing to have kids baffled me. I decided that she must be uncomfortable with her choice so she was seeing things that weren’t there. See…because it wasn’t happening to me, since it was out of the realm of my own experience, it couldn’t be happening. Only, later I realized it really was. But my own privilege kept me from seeing it. It is the same as a white person denying racial profiling. They can’t believe it happens because it hasn’t happened to THEM.

      Same thing here. We’re told it is in our head or that no one is looking down on us for our weight, we must just be so uncomfortable with ourselves that we simply THINK we’re being marginalized or ignored. Easy for “normal” sized people to say because they have never had to deal with the discrimination that goes on against fat people. Their privilege shields them. And many people refuse to look beyond their own experiences or to accept that someone else’s experience might be different.

      • “…many people refuse to look beyond their own experiences or to accept that someone else’s experience might be different.”

        Some refuse, certainly. I wonder how many others, perhaps, cannot. The ability to to see from a perspective other than one’s own may neither come naturally to many (or most), nor be taught in many educational, religious, or social settings.

        Ragen often writes that the solution to stigma is to end stigma. I wonder if a step towards that goal might be in somehow making it easier for those who wish to learn, to be able to ‘walk a mile” in our collective shoes.

        Won’t do a thing towards transplanting hearts into the confirmed haters, those who do “refuse”. Might, however, bridge some gaps between us and those capable of compassion, but lacking perspective and awareness.

        Just a thought, perhaps naive, but sometimes, optimism just plain feels better than rage. At least today.

        • Maybe refuse was the wrong word, though many do just refuse. I should have said many won’t or even can’t. Like I said, I didn’t. I remember being smacked in the face with my own privilege after proclaiming shock that a friend experienced an act of racism. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it happened. I said that in this day and age I was stunned that this went on. That was when another friend pointed out that I’m shocked because my privilege shields me from it. As a white woman, I’m not exposed to racism. In my little bubble, it just doesn’t happen. It was after that moment that I started paying attention to what was taking place outside my own bubble. I started recognizing my own privilege and I’m so grateful for that lesson.

          And I certainly hope my tone didn’t come across as rage. I was just trying to point out why people use the “projection” excuse. It is often easier than recognizing or admitting your own privilege.

          • I think projection, is a way of blaming someone for making you see what’s wrong with you. In essence, “I’m not the one with the problem! YOU’RE the one with the problem!” type of argument.

          • I think “projection” is not the right word here. Projecting is when you attribute to someone else motives that you would have in the same situation. I had a roommate who insisted that she had to search through all my belongings when she was moving out to see if I had any of her stuff packed with mine. The reality was that she had packed a bunch of my stuff with hers. She was projecting her behavior on me.

      • As a single 40 something with no kids I can totally relate to your friend’s experience. Some people just can’t deal with it, and I don’t get why. I had a much younger friend tell me she was debating if she wanted kids, she didn’t have a desire to, but people told her she was ‘selfish’ if she didn’t have them. What?? I don’t see how it possibly could be, no one owes the world more children, and the world is not in any danger of suffering from population shortage. I also wonder how many single *men* in their 40s get told its selfish..probably not many I suspect.

  5. I was listening to the radio this morning and experienced a true fat-bullying moment. A bride ordered one of her bridesmaid dresses a size smaller than the bridesmaid wore so she would lose weight and the wedding pictures would be nice. HOW DARE SHE!!!!! Who gives a flying f#*& about the pictures and who should care about her friend and her feelings! The thing was the bridesmaid wore a size 10! OMG!

    • If I were that friend/bridesmaid, I’d drop out of the wedding and let the bride foot the bill for the dress. That’s a really crappy thing to do to someone you say is your friend. (I’d reconsider that friendship, too.)

      • Oh yeah..totally out. You put in a ton of work and energy as a bridesmaid, its not worth doing for someone who isn’t going to appreciate it or respect you as a person.

      • Me, too! I’d be like, “Oh, I see. Well, then, go find someone who already fits that dress. Buh-bye!”

      • Absolutely.

  6. The last 5k race I ran, the organizers took pictures of all the participants except for me. That stung.

    I mean, race pictures are the worst but c’mon…

    • What a shame! Congrats on running the 5K!

      • I did a 5K in Uni once with a friend. We made sure we were in the very front row at the start so we’d get out pictures taken for the local news. As soon as the gun went off, people elbowed and shoved us so hard to get us out of the way we nearly fell over and got trampled.

        Ridiculous. Gods forbid a larger person be SEEN exercising, even though it’s what we’re “supposed” to be doing anyway.

        • That is why I start in the back. I’ll probably pass some of those fast starters about a mile down the road anyway. I read the tortoise and the hare. I know slow and steady wins the race. (Okay, maybe not wins, but at least finishes.)

  7. Here’s a notion about why there are so few medium-fat people people in movies– fewer even than very fat people, even though the very fat people are apt to be stigmatized. (I’m an occasional movie viewer, so I could be wrong about this– let me know.)

    I think that when intermediate people aren’t shown, it’s a way of saying that the people closer to the ends of the spectrum are very different from each other.

    My theory was partly based on what Alice Randall (author of _The Wind Done Gone_) said about what got her started on a slave-centered version of _Gone with the Wind_– she noticed that all the characters were either very black or very white, when in fact there were plenty of people who showed both ancestries at the time.

    I realize no two oppressions are the same, but I believe this is more true about their effects. There can be structural similarities about how oppression is done.

    There’s also a parallel in the situation of men and women being portrayed as very different from each other, with people who aren’t obviously one or the other being less likely to get public notice.

    pm luciebluebird, not to nag, but I don’t think fat hatred is the last socially acceptable prejudice. For example, dumping on teenagers is very socially acceptable.

    • Nancy, you may be right. I just recently started taking classes at a local college and frequently start sentences with “kids today…” Not to their faces, but to my age peers.

      Thank you for pointing that out.

    • warning for long, tl;dr mind dump.

      I think a lot of the “last acceptable prejudice” thing comes because fat prejudice is often accepted in places that otherwise don’t tolerate prejudice (or at least say they don’t). Fat prejudice is found in feminist and queer spaces, for instance, which are places you’d expect to at least tacitly support the FA movement, especially given that fat females and fat LGBTQ people experience increased fat-shaming. Many prejudices are still widely accepted–implicitly or explicitly–depending on the culture, even activist ones. It just seems that the fat prejudice in those spaces are explicit, whereas others are implied.

      I think you are correct with your assumption. There is a constructed binary of thin/fat, when in fact human size exists on a continuum (a bell-shaped one, with all the properties that entails, at that). I’ve thought about that a lot recently, especially in regards to the “headless fatty” phenomenon and media images of “the obese”.

      The cut-off for obesity is extremely low, and overweight even more so–and yet media images invariably show photos of extremely large people (which is not a judgement on those people, simply trying to state they are on the far end of the curve) which, so far as I can tell from my own experiences, creates an image of obesity in which all fats are 300+ pounds. And then, when media reports “2/3rds of Americans are obese!”, people think “My god, 2/3rds of Americans weigh more than 300 pounds! We’ve never been so heavy before! How could this possibly be happening?!” Which is obviously untrue, yet people continue to believe. I’d be concerned something was going on too if we woke up tomorrow and 2/3rds of America weighed 300 pounds*, but what has really happened is that the weight of the entire population shifted upwards minutely. The bell curve shifted, and while that means a *lot* at the ends (exponentially more people at the fattest end of the spectrum, and fewer at the thinnest), for most people in the middle there’s no appreciable change.

      I think it also attempts to broaden the gulf between thin and fat; show the uberthin and the uberfat, but nothing in between, and it reinforces the notion that fat people are an other, that they’re intrinsically different. Put yellow next to green, and they look vastly different. Put a gradient from yellow to green, and you see that they share many characteristics, and there’s no true cutoff where yellow ends and green begins. And I’m getting really hippydish, so I’m going to stop.

      *And, just to clarify, I’d be worried about the distortion in expression, not that people weigh over 300lb. Just as if, in the course of a generation, 2/3rds of American got black hair–nothing wrong with black hair, but a sudden surge merits investigation at the very least. Weight expresses on a bell curve, like many human features, and a distortion in that curve can point to something going amiss. It can also easily point to something harmless–perhaps the immigration of usually-darker-haired Latin@s and Asians is behind the surge of black hair, and our distribution has changed because our gene pool has changed.

      • I think the lack in the media of showing the average fat woman BMI 27 to 28 as a representation of the quote obesity problem is a large part of the problem. People don’t see a woman that wears a size 12, what I wore when my BMI was in that range in those headlines but the much heavier out liner.

        • This is such an interesting point. I think people really don’t have a good idea of the range of sizes that fall under the blanket term “obese.” I’ve had multiple people tell me that I’m not obese, even though according to BMI I am, which means I’m included in all the statistics about the “obesity crisis.” And I’m not even on the border of obese and overweight, nor am I one of those “obese” people who is mostly muscle. But when people think obese, a lot of them only picture the extreme high end of the bell curve. That’s not me; therefore, I don’t “read” as obese to a lot of people.

          Of course, the health of people on the extreme end isn’t the business of these outside observers, and they have no right to criticize, but I wonder how many people’s feelings about the “obesity crisis” would change if they understood what the typical obese person actually looks like.

    • You have some good points there. I think that’s also why a lot of the headless fatties on tv tend to be far into the obese category, not just a little bit. So when non-fat people think ‘obese’ they picture someone more like 400 lbs, than those just over the line (ie 5’5 190) who they’d probably never guess counted. It makes fat people more ‘the other’ ..more separate.

      • This is a particularly insightful discussion – I love how this blog is a freakin’ garden of thought and nuance and humor and kindness – about the ends of the bell curve being shown as a way to exaggerate otherness and create drama, otherwise known as “good television.”

  8. I can only speak for myself, but my guess is that many fat people also tend to “erase” ourselves. For years, I avoided having photos taken until I realized that my son was going to grow up and there would be no evidence that I even existed at birthday parties, vacations, holidays, or other occasions. I had so internalized the shame of being fat that I didn’t think I deserved to be recorded…how horrid! So get front and center, ask to have your photo taken, and be proudly represented, my peeps!

    • I know you’re right, but I still can’t bear to have my photo taken. I delete any photo taken of any part of me as soon as I can and I’ve pretty much destroyed any photo I can get my hands from my childhood.

      Who’d have thought that raising a child telling them they are disgusting because they’re fat would make them feel bad about themselves?

      • kpro, I am so, so sorry about this for you. Photos of you are precious, beautiful things. People who love you want to be able to see your glorious, smiling face and remember the joy you shared. This just makes my heart ache.

        I hope you can find the courage and strength to be able to view pictures of yourself without hate and recognize that the you in the photos is loved just as is. No one – and I mean NO ONE – will look at those photos and think, “Wow. She’s fat!” They look and say, “Hey – that’s my friend.” 🙂

    • I’m so glad you did that! My mom died when I was seven, and for years before that she avoided having her picture taken because she was so self- conscious about her size (and after she got sick, about losing her hair, looking older than she was because of chemo and stress, etc.). As a result, the only pictures I have of us together are from when I was a baby. I know I’m very lucky to have those, since some people don’t have any photos at all of their lost loved ones, but still, I would love to have a photo of my mom and me from one of my birthdays, or ballet performances, or the trip to Europe we took together . . . any of the events we shared that I was old enough to remember. You are doing something wonderful for your son by providing him with those pictures. Just remember, when he looks at them, the only thing he’ll see is a joyous captured moment with the mom he loves.

    • My daughter once complained that every time my picture is taken I position my head so my double-chin doesn’t show. It made her sad. So – even though I don’t like those pictures of myself, I try to leave some as they are, so that she and my someday-grandchildren will see me as I really am. I’m even trying to get used to myself with the double-chin.

    • So great that you decided to start having your photo taken! I actually wrote a post about this yesterday (http://www.curvaslibres.blogspot.com.ar/2013/08/como-levantar-tu-autoestima-hermosa-en.html). Until a few month ago, I always avoided appearing in photos. But on May I was reading about self-compassion and came across a self-portrait course and signed up for it without giving it much thought. I discovered that having my photo taken day after day for a month gave me more confidence and appreciation for my fat body.

    • Yep, i always battled with self-esteem issues and every time it was time for pics i would avoid it like the plague or would hide in the very back. It was bad to the point i avoided family get-togethers and outings for fear of being ridiculed by people not for me, but i felt like i didn’t want my family to be embarrassed of being seen with me.

  9. I’m very lucky, my sister not only didn’t consider not including me in the family shots, but she made sure that there was an individual picture of me taken the same as my other sister who is much thinner, the photographer actually made me feel pretty good and tried to get a fun shot that would look good.

    If I lived nearer to my family I’d have gotten the name of the photographer and splashed it all over my social media so my friends in the area could hire him if they wanted. I have no idea what this guys personal opinion of me was but he was a professional and acted like it, which is what I consider important. (Although I suspect he was fairly neutral on size as most people who aren’t tend to let it show).

    I’ve had my share of run ins with crappy individuals, but for some of the important events I’ve had a fairly charmed life and as more people listen and challenge the status quo there is a greater chance more people will have this kind of experience, instead of it being exceptional.

  10. A long-time (almost 30 years) IRL friend posted a fat joke on Facebook. I was shocked, and hurt, and let her know why. Her response: “Get over yourself.” and “Stop taking yourself so seriously.” Totally discounting me and my feelings. With friends like that….

    Of course, she is no longer my friend, on FB or in life. Her loss.

  11. I am also guilty of doing the self-erasing thing, which I too am trying really hard to stop. It helps having a blog like this to help us reclaim our right to be visible. In high school there were plenty of pictures taken of me despite my protests, but not so anymore! Now I have to actually smile and crowd into the frame.

    Although I do feel the need to point out that you were SUPPOSED to look at the stone angels (don’t blink!) because they could only move when no one was looking. Scary freaking things.

    • This reminded me — in college, I so hated myself/body/looks, I refused to allow any photo of me to be included in our yearbook. How sad is that?!

  12. I also do not like having my picture taken and mainly I feel it’s how I look in regards to my smile more so than my body size/fat etc…I always feel like I make a dumb look on my face unless it’s a candid pic. I mentioned yesterday that I was in very few wedding pics at my nephew’s wedding and I was not included as a part of family pics or when the photographer spent hours following people during the reception. I just felt more like I was not an “attractive” looking person to photograph whether it was because of my size or my face or my dress whatever! It made me feel like crap and kind of still does. So even if I don’t like my pic taken but sometimes override that due to the fact I want my kids to have pics with me as they love me no matter what I look like I still don’t think my dislike of having it taken had anything to do with the photographer at the wedding and most of her pics were candid.

  13. Thank you, Ragen, for talking about people denying YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE. This is one of the worst things one can do to another person, tell them that what they are experiencing or have experienced actually did not happen. This is a common parenting technique which teaches children to mistrust their own experiences and feelings, but it doesn’t end there. People don’t even think before saying to another person, “You don’t really feel that way” or “That wasn’t really what happened” (particularly interesting comments from people who weren’t there at the time).

  14. Not move comfortably…hah. A very good friend of mine was probably close to 300 a while ago, and one of the most graceful people I’d ever seen and wonderful bellydancer. It varies for me, sometimes I’m stiff when I first get up, but oh I could just dance for hours. I’ve surprised the heck out of some people by dancing all night (at work things, weddings) I guess they expected me to just sit in the chair in the corner?? I also know plenty of slim people who don’t move comfortably at all. But either way that tv person was absolutely over the line invalidating your experience of your own damn self.

  15. As a fat person, a female, a person with a disability, and one who is queer, I say “amen,’ “amen,” and “amen.” We get this treatment from dance teachers, doctors, people at the grocery store, people on the street, at parties, and even from our own families, and it’s -wrong.- It happens in photos, in conversations/interpersonal relationships, job environments (whether seeking or simply maintaining), and there is so much fucked-up’edness about this that one can hardly process.

    I know some people do this in hopes of “not being rude,” or by a means of restraining themselves from doing something even more openly ugly, but no matter which way you slice it, ignoring a person is still dehumanizing, demeaning, and destructive.

    As an artist, I have a project I’m working on called the Plus-Size Pride Project that’s all -about- being seen, being proud, and loving who you are. If anyone wants to learn more, please feel free to drop me a note.
    And as a dancer & performer, I have a bellydance blog that supports plus-size and other marginalized people (for example dancers who are disabled or queer), and always welcome your submissions, comments, ideas or suggestions there, too. I want my endeavors to be as all-inclusive and welcoming as possible, and through -all- of my work, I want to show that world that I -am- here. ..That -we- are ALL here. That we ALL count. -And we bloody-well deserve to be fucking heard, no matter what our size, age, abilities, gender, income, or orientation. ♥♥♥

  16. Please let us take your picture we love you. I don’t like having my picture taken either but we have to get over it.

  17. It’s not just thin people who won’t take photos of fat people. Sometimes fat people will be just as dismissive. We took many photos at my sister-in-law’s wedding. We put the photos on a cd and gave it to her. We also printed some of the photos and gave them to her. Not a single photo showed up in her wedding album. She’s as fat as I am. The photographer took shots, as well. One of them was of me and John dancing. I would have loved to see it. Sometimes everyone else at a party will be photographed except me. The last time it happened, I asked to have a picture taken. The photographer seemed so taken aback, as if she thought I had no right to ask. Now I ask. Another time, I was interviewed for a newspaper article about a group that I ran. The reporter took a photo. The article was on the front page – with a photo of a juggler. People asked me, does your group do juggling, too? No, they just didn’t want a fat person on their front page.

  18. I like to wear reds. I made a red silk gown that I’ve worn exactly once because I haven’t had anywhere else to wear it, and the one time I did, it was wet and gross and silk dress with a train + mud = no fun for me. In any case, it finally garnered me attention. Like no one can see me if I’m not wearing that dress. One day I will climb up on my friend’s black Friesian stallion while wearing it. Anyway… it certainly doesn’t help my self esteem or self worth to be so lightly thrown aside. ❤ You make me love myself a tiny bit every day.

  19. I have seen too many women, large and small, try to hide behind something or get out of a picture entirely. I tell them this story:

    My mother hated herself, all of her life. She hated herself SO MUCH that when I moved back home for a few months when I was 26, she went into my room while I was at work and searched through my box of pictures and DESTROYED every picture of her that I had in there. Every single one. The only picture I have of her now is the picture that my oldest brother took, 2 weeks before she died. She didn’t have time to sneak in and destroy that one.

    So, I don’t avoid the camera anymore. My sister has lots and lots of pictures of me, mostly with my beloved nieces. They are *not* going to look at the pictures and think, ‘That’s my Aunt Jane, she was SO FAT’ No! They’re going to look at pictures and think, ‘That was my Aunt Jane. She loved us so much!’

    Pictures aren’t for YOU. Pictures are for the generations to come.

    And I’m often wearing red. Or fuchsia. I look fantastic in bright colors, every pound of me.

    • Oh, Jane. I am so sorry your mother did that. 😦 What horrible pain she must have felt inside. *hugs*

  20. Thank you for this post. I’ve been told ‘it’s all in my mind’ because I’m not in a lot of family photos. I complained to my husband that he never takes pictures of me. He’s trying to correct that because he’s a wonderful guy, but I don’t think the general ‘thin’ public knows how much it hurts to be made invisible. I can even blame myself. I’ve avoided taking ‘selfies’ (pictures of myself with my phone) because of the fat. I’m stopping that behavior right now. Look out internet. Selfies of me are in your future!

  21. I had a pretty good experience with this recently. The guy who runs a club night I go to regularly mentioned that the reason he rarely takes photos of me is because he prefers “looking popular” shots with multiple people interacting – and I spend majority of my time not talking to people (and dislike posing for posing’s sake) it made me pretty happy because I had noticed I am not in a lot of the shots that aren’t just dancefloor ones.

  22. I’m still getting more comfortable with seeing photos of myself – I love what I see in the mirror, but when it comes to seeing myself through the camera’s eye, it’s such a different image.

    I went on vacation to Newfoundland recently to visit a dear friend. I had her take a few touristy snapshots of me posing by various landmarks and signs, and when I went to post them on Facebook all I could see were my perceived faults. I put them up anyway, and haven’t seen a single negative comment 🙂

    I also had a fantastic time in NL!

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